History Humor, Supernaturalism, Internet Social Media Humor
Pages / Runtime
304 / 6 hours and 45 minutes / 473 KB
Book 978-1524872106 Kindle B09TVHJLLC Audiobook B09VYDGBWQ
A Haunted Road Atlas is written and performed by Christine Schiefer and her co-author Em Schultz. There is one word that sums up this insanity; cleverly wrapped up in either the written work or the unabridged audiobook, and that word is – fun. Schiefer and Schultz have created a powerful diversion from everyday irrelevant concerns with their fantabulous journey across the entire Continental United States!
Now back to the review. The book is subdivided into individual geographic locations. The reader joins the trip mentally with Christine and Em, visiting haunted hotels, paranormal tours and strange and weird places. That’s not all; oh no! A Haunted Road Atlas also covers: notorious criminals, murders, mayhem, massacres, and con-men. All these are accompanied by fun facts and opinions. I both read and listened to their productions, and I highly recommend the audiobook version. The narrative is rapid delivered and the staccato humor just blew my socks off.
Imagine for a moment the most unhinged but fun person that you know or can imagine. Now add in a touch of Zac Bagin’s of Ghost Adventures fame. Sprinkle in some spooky places with two uproarious, loud and gregarious story tellers, and you have a simple idea of just how deep the rabbit hole goes.
It confounds me just how they managed to cram so much humor into this book. If you enjoy alternative humor, delivered by consummate entertainers look no further.
I sincerely hope that they manage to get to visit Alaska and Hawaii just so that there will be another magical creation.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I would like to thank Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review A Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales.
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The crew, alerted to an emergency transmission, reluctantly answers the call and discovers horrors, mysteries, phantoms, and challenges beyond their imagination. Claire Kovalik must conquer her conflicted self, the crew, and the company…
A Talent to Deceive, by William Norris, focuses on the kidnapping of Charles Augustus Lindbergh Junior on the evening of March 1st, 1932. He was the son of the renowned aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh Senior; the first person to fly across the Atlantic non-stop. Norris’ work is an in-depth and skillful investigation using a diverse range of contemporary sources. He seeks to enlighten us to the facts, opinions, and contemporaneous evidence he discovered through his extensive research. What he discovers has convinced him there was a miscarriage of justice.
If you are familiar with the case then buckle up because your preconceptions are about to be shaken in an avalanche of newly discovered information. Forget about what you thought you knew, try to put aside your biases and open yourself up to Norris’ detailed version of the events.
On a Spring evening 98 years ago, 20 month old Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped and murdered. Eventually, the perpetrator was tracked, tried and executed; at least that is what we thought. Norris reopens the case with a comprehensive breakdown of the people and events that led to the disappearance and subsequent death of the Lindbergh baby. He leaves no stone unturned, and his research indicates a miscarriage of justice took place and the wrong man was tried and executed. He delves into the characters surrounding the investigation and how they influenced the outcome; including how Charles Lindbergh Sr. took over the case. Norris makes a compelling case that the “Crime of the Century” still remains unsolved.
A Talent to Deceive begins as a non-fiction true crime drama but quickly evolves into a political psycho-drama with twists and turns, strong personalities and secrets. There is much to commend in A Talent To Deceive, not the least of these is the in-depth and detailed research undertaken by the author. His innate skill and deft prose are always engaging and entertaining. Norris manages to encourage the reader to empathize with the events that took place almost one hundred years ago. He quickly draws the reader into the historic case in such away that it affects you emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically. It is easy for the reader to become completely invested in Norris’ version of events. It is only with distance and hindsight that a dispassionate analysis is possible; even then a reader may still feel uneasy as to the events in those days so very long ago.
If this is the first time you have come across the Lindbergh case, you can expect a real feast of information. Norris writes with conviction and clearly feels strongly about both the crime and the alleged unsafe-conviction. Most of all, he expresses his deep unease with regard to the motivations of the key players; including Charles Lindbergh Sr. and the State actors that conspired with, or for, Charles Lindbergh Sr.
A Talent to Deceive will live in your memory long after you have read it and certainly would stand a second or even a third read. This book is a must have for the avid true crime community and a special addition to the real crime aficionado’s library.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I would like to thank William Norris, NetGalley, and CamCat Publishing LLC. for affording me the opportunity to review A Talent to Deceive: The Search for the Real Killer of the Lindbergh Baby.
Former Police Lieutenant, Joe Kenda is the author of Killer Triggers. Read more about Kenda’s background here.
Killer Triggers by Joe Kenda is an unabridged audiobook that is a phantasmagoria of real world criminals and their motivations. Sometimes hard to stomach, Kenda delivers a phlegmatic narration that contrasts starkly from the horrors that he describes. At times, there is a slight trepidation in his voice, tone, or tremor. His varied tonation indicates a deeper emotional recollection of the crimes that still evoke unease in his soul.
One particular recollection of Kenda’s, involved the events that occurred at The Avenue in Colorado Springs. Two Fort Carson Soldiers, Army Specialist Layne Shmidtke and Sargent Joseph Reeves, were attacked on September 11, 1991. Over 700 witnesses saw the crime. Kenda explains how his 8 man team worked tirelessly to identify all those involved and discover their motivations.
Kanda details the grimness of the job that murder detectives do on a daily basis. Sometimes he punctuates it with a hint of irreverence to warm the cold horror of some of the cases he’s been involved in. The worst crimes involve small children. Those of a more delicate disposition may want to avoid those accounts.
There is a very real sense throughout that Kenda is still all cop inside, evidenced by his television presentations and his writing. He comes across as the kind of man you would want on your side in a criminal investigation. He is loyal, forensically aware and intelligent. Just as importantly, he had a dogged determination to leave no stone unturned ensuring that the criminals were brought to justice.
Killer Triggers contains a host of disturbing content. At 8 hours and 30 minutes, it is about the average length for a work of its kind. Many true crime readers out there may consider it less impactful than some other similar works due to the staccato pace. The crimes stack up quickly and contemplation comes once the book is finished.
Killer Triggers is a stark reminder to us all that Law Enforcement Officers have a most unique job. A job that requires them to be social workers one moment, traffic management personnel at another, and defenders of the population sometimes through the use of deadly force. Can we be surprised that the men and women of the Police suffer health and psychological issues? They are forced to be Mary Poppins one moment and Judge Dredd the next. Is it really any wonder that alcoholism, domestic abuse, and suicide plague the Law Enforcement community?
Kenda can put a brave face on it, but the nerve shredding sights, smells, and emotional baggage created by investigating these horrific crimes, scar the individual permanently. The memories still haunt him. At other time he uses graveyard humor to deal with horrors he witnessed. Dealing with monstrous crimes, as Joe Kenda and his team did day-after-day, seems to leave little room for sentiment. The most egregious crimes are those involving children. These undercurrents of psychological turmoil were not covered, but could be felt throughout the book. Unsurprisingly, Kenda’s delivery is emotionally separate and heavily redacted in terms of police operation methods .
If you were a family member of a murder victim, Kenda is the kind of Law Enforcement Officer that you would demand. He is Intelligent, doggedly, determined, forensically and legally aware. The kind of law officer that will turn over every stone to capture the criminal that stole your loved one.
Joe Kenda’s dedication to his craft is evident in every word as he deftly reads his own prose. There is a laconic fall-off to his spoken word that leaves us in no doubt that he still carries the memories of all those unforgettable crimes that he once witnessed. He uses vocal emphasis by changing the speed of his delivery and his tonality thus adding weight to the alarming acts of violence. There is an authority to his voice that demands your undivided attention. He conversationally relays the information to the listener in a way that is both engaging and riveting.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR
I would like to than Joe Kenda, NetGalley, and Blackstone Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Killer Triggers.
Maureen Fergus, is an established children’s book writer with eleven other book collaborations to her name.
Mad About Meatloaf is written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated by Alexandre Bye. This is a comic book style adventure of a dachshund dog named Weenie. Weenie shares his life with his owner Bob and Bob’s other two pets; a rotund cat named Frank and a highly intellectual guinea pig called Beans. As the title suggests, Weenie is obsessed with eating meatloaf so much that he keeps getting into trouble in his quest to obtain the ever elusive meat treat. When Weenie wants meatloaf the fun begins.
Weenie eats Bob’s meatloaf. Bob gets mad. Weenie tries to replace Bob’s meatloaf. The search for meatloaf takes the trio to the Mini-Mart and the forest where all kinds of hilarity takes place.
Who knew just how much trouble a dog, a cat, and a guinea pig could get into? Never before have a trio of pets caused so much trouble for their owner.
In Mad About Meatloaf, Maureen Fergus has created the perfect combination of a small cast of characters that work together to create havoc. The comic book style suits the tale and it quickly engages the reader into the surreal world of Weenie, Frank and Beans. Humorous throughout, expertly illustrated, exquisite in its colorful presentation, Mad About Meatloaf is the perfect gift for any young child. Every aspect of the book is child appropriate and the captivating story is sure to find favor with both children and adults. Highly recommended read. I can’t wait to review book number 2.
The illustrator, Alexandra Bye, has created a beautiful colorful world for Weenie and friends to inhabit. The stories are easy to follow and are engaging, entertaining, and above all amusing.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I would like to thank Maureen Fergus,Netgalley, and Tundra Books for affording me the opportunity to review Mad About Meatloaf.
The Vanishing At Loxby Manor takes place in Kent, England during the dark and distant days of the Regency Period (1811-1820). Charity Halliwell returns to Loxby Manor following a 5 year absence. Full of trepidation, she is hiding a personal secret and anticipating meeting Piers Cavenanagh again. Piers was her former love interest in whom she still holds feelings of unrequited love.
Filled with tragedy, drama, and suspense, the tale revolves around Charity and Piers and their none reciprocated romance. Charity returns to a world filled with secrets, an elite society, and the disappearance of a beautiful, flirty but popular old friend, Seline. Seline vanishes the same evening Charity arrived at Loxby. Her disappearance spawns a plethora of theories. Nothing is as it seems, and Charity and Piers unite in an attempt to discover the truth.
The narration by Laura Kirman complimented and enhanced the listening pleasure. Her timing, intonation, pace, volume, and tone definitely provided a superior experience to simply reading a text version. Kirkman managed to invoke strong character personalities with her vocal range, cadence and inflection.
The Vanishing At Loxby Manor is filled with twits and turns worthy of a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Wilson’s practiced writing skills provide a cast of fully formed characters who inhabit an all too real world. The plot twists compliment the gothic feel of the story and together create a perfect symphony. The narrative is so well formed as to conceal the details of the mystery until late into the book. It is a compelling love story wrapped in a seemingly elusive mystery. Wilson has managed to combine the multiple story threads so skillfully that it is difficult to see the surprising outcome. Filled with equal amounts of: dark, dread, political intrigue, secret society, and the potential for romance; The Vanishing At Loxby Manor exceeds all expectations. The culmination of the elaborate plot ends in a crescendo of action and some unforeseen revelations with a genuinely surprising outcome.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
SELECTION OF WORKS BY THIS AUTHOR
I would like to thank Abigail Wilson, NetGalley, and Thomas Nelson Publisher’s for affording me the opportunity to review The Vanishing At Loxby Manor.
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We Thought We Knew You is a book written by the prolific true crime writer and investigative journalist, M. William Phelps.
Mary Yoder is dead at sixty.
It is July of 2015 and Mrs M. Yoder, a previously healthy married woman with one son, has just collapsed and died in great pain and discomfort. An autopsy reveals the terrible truth that Mary has been murdered.
Means, motive and opportunity are key indicators used by police to determine the suspicion of an individual suspected in the involvement of a crime. It was no different in the case of the murder of Mrs, Yoder. The family and those closest to her were the first to come under scrutiny. Her long time husband Bill, her son Adam, and his former girl-friend Kaitlyn (Katie) Conley formed the triad of characters under investigation. Quickly, the focus falls upon one of the three suspects.
The suspects are:
Kaitlyn Conley is an attractive, vivacious, and popular woman and the former girlfriend of Mary Yoder’s son. Following an acrimonious split, Katie continues to work at the Yoder’s family owned chiropractor’s office. Kaitlyn had suffered from a contentious relationship with Adam from which she continued to harbored unrequited rage. She has a history of rage combined with instability when it came to dealing with rejection in relationships.
Adam Yoder is a conscientious and hard working young man who in the time running up to Mary Yoder’s death had some verbal disagreements with his mother. These disagreements placed him in the purview of the investigation.
Then there was Bob Yoder, Mary’s long suffering husband. Could he have murdered his wife in such a brutal and heinous way?
Could it all be so simple? Could there be another more motivated killer on the loose? Or does this murder boil down to someone motivated by a combination of lust, control, and selfish greed?
In court, the Defense appears to be winning the case. With conflicting motives and the nimble mindedness of the Defense Team, they outmaneuver the Prosecution.
Then a Cyber Crime Forensic Expert comes to the aid of the prosecution council. A man who sifts through the hidden evidence and constructs an irrefutable truth based in cold, hard facts from meta-data. The true motive is revealed. Through a jigsaw like puzzle, the jury of their peers must decide who is to blame beyond any reasonable doubt.
So who did it in the end? The quickest and easiest way to discover the culprit, is to listen to it for yourself.
Happily, you can read We Thought We knew You for free on Kindle Unlimited. See link at the bottom of the page.
We Thought We Knew You, was narrated by Danny Campbell.
I am sorry to say that I am not a fan of Campbell’s narration of this work. I found his flat diction, devoid of any intonation or fluidity to be below average. This combined with this his labored breathing was profoundly disquieting. His diction became a considerable distraction from the well formed prose of Phelps. The lack of vocal range, timpani, or any color created an uninspiring transition between characters. His lack of vocal range and labored breathing definitely had a negative impact upon my enjoyment of the audiobook.
We Thought We Knew You by M. William Phelps is not the best of his work. There were a number of times where I found some repetition. The tendency to transcend between one time and another proved to be a little disorientating. Despite that, I enjoyed Phelps unraveling of the conundrum that is: We Thought We Knew You.
One of the reasons that Phelps is a successful writer is he sincerely cares about the victims of the crimes he reports. His success cannot simply be attributed to his excellent skills in writing or his investigative methods. There is a palpable sense of anger and frustration that his subjects have been callously killed. This is borne out by the consistent pattern of his writing style in that he always has the victim as the fulcrum of the story. He consistently regales us with the minutiae of the victims daily lives and their hopes, dreams and vulnerabilities. He paints them in flesh and blood terms as they once were through the written word. This to me, this is what make M. William Phelps work stand out. In the world of true crime, he stands alone and unique in his defense of those who can no longer defend themselves.
Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew: A Book of Animal sounds Series: Very First Board Books
Kar-Ben Publishing ® (September 1, 2020)
Audiobook, Board Book, Kindle
Time / Pages
1:26:00 / 14 Pages
Children’s Animal book, Children’s Language Book
English and Hebrew
1541560892 / 978-1541560895
Ellen Bari has created award-winning museum exhibits and programs for clients including The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Sesame Workshop, PBS, Nickelodeon and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Ellen, a fluent Hebrew speaker, lived in Israel and enjoys writing about a variety of Jewish topics. She lives in New York.
Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew? is the most recent offering from the acclaimed children’s literature author Ellen Bari. This book is meant for parents of very young children who wish to ensure they begin learning Hebrew linguistically as soon as possible. Research supports the proposition that in order to increase the success of learning multiple languages, it is best started as early in a child’s life as possible. As you would anticipate from a book directed towards children 1-4 years of age, the content is purposefully short, simple and repetitive. This is no accident, but is done purposefully in order to hold the child’s attention; and through repetition, improve their retention of the story and thus the nuances of the language.
The narration is clear, concise and delivered in an accurate manner accent free. I would acknowledge the narrator’s name, but I was unable to establish it on this occasion.
I am reviewing the audiobook version, so I am unable to comment on the illustrations; beyond stating that if the front page is anything to go by, the images will be every bit as exciting and interesting as the narration and the dialogue.
Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew? is fun for children and parents alike. What better gift to give your child than a better understanding of the world through the languages we speak. I enjoyed it and I am completely confident that you and your children will also.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
SPECIAL MENTION – ILLUSTRATOR
Holly Clifton-Brown was born in London and attended Chelsea School of Art, Media, and Design; and Bristol UWE Faculty of Art, Media and Design, where she attained a B.A. in Illustration. Her work has been exhibited at The London Transport Museum. She is the author and illustrator of Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganzaand has illustrated other picture books including Big Bouffant and Big Birthday.
I would like to thank Ellen Bari, NetGalley and Kar-Ben Publishing ® & Lerner Audiobooks for affording me the opportunity to reviewDoes Your Dog Speak Hebrew?
LITERCURIOUS CHILD FRIENDLY JOKE
Q. What goes tick-tock bow-wow, tick-tock bow-wow?
A. A watch dog.
OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR
Jenny loves to jump. But when jumping gets her in trouble, she decides to retire her pogo stick. Then her school decides to hold a fundraising fair, and she discovers that her skill can be used for a good cause.
The Tattered Prayer Book, winner of The Mom’s Choice Award, is a gentle introduction to the Holocaust for children ages 6-10. Ruthie discovers a secret about her father while looking through a box of mementos from “the old country.” As her father tells his surprising story, Ruthie learns a slice of Jewish history and the circumstances under which the family fled Nazi Germany. A burnt prayer book taken in secret from a destroyed synagogue after Kristallnacht offers solace to a young boy at the most difficult time in his life.
Catching Fireflies is a children’s fiction publication. It is the debut work of the Lagnado’s. The sole character is a hoarder of beautiful natural things. The story involves Monster as he follows his whim to track down and acquire a selection of insects and objects for his personal collection. He is curious, and acts from a sense of wanting to possess nature.
Once he decides to secure his chosen items, he first gathers together a set of jars in which to display them. Then the hunt is on to discover those things which he finds fascinating. His travels take him from woods, to snow covered fields and to the beach. Eventually Monster has his very own array of nature.
He quickly discovers that nature is best left in its natural habitat and learns a valuable lesson. Nature is best enjoyed out in the open where it is at its best and most beautiful.
The character Monster clearly has a love for all things natural and his love is so great he wants to own them. He quickly discovers that nature can’t remain beautiful unless it is allowed to live free.
It is a morality tale for little children and a tool to teach that you can’t have everything you want, and that sometimes it is better to enjoy things without possessing them.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
I would like to thank Celina & Leo Lagnado, NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for affording me the opportunity to reviewCatching Fireflies.
LITERCURIOUS CHILD FRIENDLY JOKE
Q. Why was the mother firefly upset with her children?
To learn about Joe Hill, check out our authors spotlight here.
Stephen Lang is an American actor, playwright co-artistic director. He received a Tony Award and the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor. He is best known for his role in Avatar. He has a long and distinctive film and television career. He has done voice-over work on video games and narrates a wide variety of audiobooks.
Heart-Shaped Box is a paranormal tiptoe though the life of a 50 something rock-star named Jude Coyne; aka Judas. Judas lives a semi-reclusive existence in Piecliff, New York. At the story’s inception, he has a small retinue consisting of his girlfriend Georgia and his loquacious Californian Personal Assistant, Danny.
Judas has a macabre occult and disturbing collection of objet d’art. At Danny’s suggestion, he decides to purchase another item for his assemblage from a popular online bidding site. It is an unusual item; as it is claimed to be a haunted suit. Unknowingly to Judas, the suit belonged to the stepfather of his dead ex-girlfriend. With the arrival of the artifact; a perfect storm of past and present events conspires together to propel Judas into a living nightmare.
The paranormal antagonist is a literal Swiss Army Knife of the supernatural realm. Craddock McDermott was the stepfather of Florida, who committed suicide after her breakup with Judas. The specter uses his life skills to bring hell into the head, heart and soul of Jude Coyne. In an all out blood vendetta from the grave; only the death of Coyne and his helpers will satisfy the lust for revenge. Judas seems ill equipped to defend himself. No matter how far or how fast he runs from McDermott, he can never escape. McDermott is not only behind him, but also in him; in his mind.
Florida’s decline after her breakup with Judas and the impact of subsequent events pulls at the heartstrings with just the right amount of pathos. I found the telephone call from Florida’s sister to be among the most chilling chapters of the book. Easy banter, quickly replaced with unrestrained vitriol and a promise of rightful revenge to follow.
Heart-Shaped Box is another winner from the pen of Joe Hill.
Overtly graphic, unflinchingly morose and disturbingly dark, the characters are perfectly sculpted. “The Devil is in the details,” as they say and this is never truer than when describing Heart-Shaped Box. It is every bit as much of a psychological thriller as a paranormal tale of terror. It is always unpredictable, atmospheric throughout with taut tracts that will haunt you in your dreams.
The narrator Stephen Lang was engaging and performed his role with some élan. He managed to bring a sophistication and an angle to the tale by enhancing the written word and bringing the characters to life.
Listening to Heart-Shaped Box, there is an inevitability and a fatality to the whole thing; a feeling that you are on an out of control roller-coaster in Christmasland. Most perverse of all is; you never want to jump off until the ride is over.
Does Judas manage to prevent the death of those who help or support him? I guess you will have to listen or read for yourself to find out.
The whole package works. Just lay back, listen and let the story take you with the help of a fine up and coming writer and a magnificent narrator. If you love skillfully written tales of horror with a twist why not let Heart-Shaped Box be your next audiobook journey? With Hill’s work, the chills come as standard.